In a surprising turn of events, Carolina dominated a game against the Falcons this Sunday. They jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the 3rd quarter, leaving too little time for the Falcons to mount a comeback. The running game was non existent with only 11 carries for 35 yards. That forced Matt Ryan to throw the ball 49 times. He had 342 yards, but much of that came late in the game with the win out of reach. The Atlanta offense could not get it going until late in the 3rd quarter when they finally scored their first points. They made things a bit interesting when they made it just a 10 point game early in the fourth, but failed on their two point conversion. DeAngelo Williams then squashed the comeback attempt with a 53 yard pass for a score.
The Falcons did little to stop Newton in this game which is the main reason they lost this game. They likely didn’t expect so much fight from Carolina who was just coming off a loss to the one win Chiefs. Still, Atlanta still has the best record in the NFC and have a strong chance to own home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They just can’t fall victim to complacency like teams with the best record in the league have in recent years. For whatever reason the best team in the league has made an early exit in the playoffs. The Falcons are still somewhat under the radar despite their record. With little playoff success to speak of they still have a lot to prove.
Next up for Atlanta is the Giants. New York is fighting for their playoff life at this point with Washington and Dallas hot on their trail. They will badly need to win this game, so it will be a good test for the Falcons who have been playing some games that have not really mattered lately.